U2 canceled a show in St. Louis scheduled for Saturday night amid citywide protests over the Friday acquittal of police officer Jason Stockley, who shot a black driver five times after a car chase and was charged with first-degree murder.
“We have been informed by the St. Louis Police Department that they are not in a position to provide the standard protection for our audience as would be expected for an event of this size. We have also been informed that local crowd security personnel would not be at full capacity,” U2 said in a joint statement with Live Nation.
“In light of this information, we cannot in good conscience risk our fans’ safety by proceeding with tonight’s concert.”
People throughout St. Louis started protesting after Stockley was acquitted on Friday. The former police officer killed Anthony Lamar Smith in 2011 and was charged with murder last year.
Stockley and another officer chased Smith at up to 80 miles per hour, and Stockley said that he was “going to kill this motherf‑‑‑er, don’t you know it,” the Washington Post reported based on court documents. The officer fired five times into Smith’s car.
Stockley was also accused of planting a gun on Smith. A gun found in Smith’s car only carried DNA from Stockley.
Although most protests were peaceful, some violence broke out between protesters and police officers late at night. About 1,000 protesters at the mayor’s house met 200 police officers in riot gear who used tear gas to disperse the crowds and ward off thrown rocks and bricks.
Twenty-three people were arrested as of 6 p.m. Friday.
“As much as we regret having to cancel, we feel it is the only acceptable course of action in the current environment,” U2 said in their statement.
Fans who bought tickets to the show online will receive refunds to their credit cards, and people who bought tickets in person can receive refunds at their point of purchase starting at 10 a.m. Monday.